Scientists are trying to understand how salmon are impacted by alewives, an invasive species that has become a main source of food for salmon, a keystone predator that eats smaller fish. It is believed the alewives cause a thiamine deficiency in salmon, hindering their ability to reproduce naturally.
Environmental groups are alarmed by a conceptual proposal floated by the Cuomo administration to establish lodging facilities near Boreas Ponds—in an area they believe should be classified as “untrammeled” Wilderness.
DEC fielded an unusually high number of complaints about run-ins with bruins this year. By MIKE LYNCH Jean Belanger was starting a climb at the Beer Walls in Chapel Pond Canyon when his girlfriend, Isabel Rodriguez, yelled up to him to come down right away. “That usually means I have a spider on my back,” Belanger said. But there was no spider this time. Instead Rodriguez had spotted an approaching mother bear and its cub. After quickly descending, Belanger walked a short distance away from the bears and started yelling and clapping. “They didn’t make any aggressive moves toward me >>More
Protect the Adirondacks lawsuit could clarify state constitution’s mandate against destroying trees in the Forest Preserve. By PHIL BROWN A rose is a rose is a rose, Gertrude Stein said. Defining a tree is not so simple. That question—what is a tree?—has emerged as a central issue in a long-running dispute over the construction of “community-connector” snowmobile trails in the Forest Preserve. These trails, which link hamlets, are nine feet wide (twelve feet on curves) and graded to make them smooth. Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, contends they resemble roads more than trails. Since 2013, Protect has >>More
Observers say more money is needed to repair and maintain an antiquated network of hiking routes. By MIKE LYNCH When many of the High Peaks’ trails were cut more than a century ago, the work was done by guides and hired hands. Keene Valley’s Orson “Old Mountain” Phelps created the first trail up Mount Marcy in 1861; Verplanck Colvin’s survey workers cut routes up Algonquin and Dix in the late 1800s; and Henry Van Hoevenberg developed a trail system for the Adirondack Lodge (as it was then spelled). The early trails opened up the High Peaks to more people and laid the groundwork for today’s trail system, but some of the original trails continue to >>More
Wildlife advocates believe wolves could come back to the Adirondacks someday and want the state to facilitate their return. By Mike Lynch Standing in a snowy meadow in Wilmington, a wolf lifts its head and howls, breaking the near silence on a cold winter day. Just a few feet away Steve Hall watches the scene, a leash in his hand. The wolf on the other end of the leash is one of three owned by Hall and his wife, Wendy, a wildlife rehabilitator. The couple owns Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, and the animals are used for education, including popular “wolf walks.” >>More
Public remains split over the best use of 80-mile corridor running through wild lands. By Phil Brown After four public meetings on the future of the eighty-mile rail corridor between Big Moose and Lake Placid, the public seems as divided as ever, and the state now must make a decision sure to leave many people unhappy. The Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation plan to review the public comments and make a recommendation for the best use of the state-owned corridor. After the public has had a chance to weigh in on that recommendation, the departments will make >>More
Wildlife advocates say the state should prepare the public now for the possibility that mountain lions will be back in the future. By Mike Lynch Darcy Wiltse, a veterinarian, was driving on Route 458 near Meacham Lake one night early last winter when she saw a large animal crossing the road. She’s convinced it was a cougar. “I saw the whole profile again. I saw the body. I saw the tail,” said Wiltse. “She even hesitated on the other side of the road before she went into the trees.” Wiltse said this was the second time she’s seen a cougar >>More
DEC bolsters the Adirondacks’ shrinking population of spruce grouse by bringing in specimens from Maine and Canada. By Mike Lynch Once abundant in the Adirondacks, the spruce grouse has struggled for much of the past century, but now scientists are trying to bolster the dwindling population by importing birds from out of state. The state Department of Environmental Conservation released three spruce grouse last year and thirty this year, according to Angelena Ross, a biologist with the department. The three birds released last year were adult females from Ontario. Only one survived the winter, and it was killed by a hawk in the spring. In August, DEC released twelve adults and >>More
DEC is criticized for avoiding snowmobile-trail issues in draft document. By Phil Brown The state Department of Environmental Conservation has withdrawn a draft management plan for new state lands known as the Essex Chain Lakes Complex in the face of criticism that it failed to discuss the route of a controversial snowmobile trail. The decision to address the snowmobile issue in a new draft plan won praise from both environmental activists and snowmobile enthusiasts. “It’s important that all the issues of the Essex Chain are dealt with at one time, so the public has an opportunity to debate them all,” said Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club. Last December, >>More